Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Education




Pollock, Katina E.


This dissertation explores how Indigenous language leaders at Six Nations of the Grand River can collaborate for the purpose of revitalizing Indigenous languages. Using an Indigenous research study approach, I conducted single 45-60 minute semi-structured interviews with 10 Indigenous language leaders from the Six Nations of the Grand River. To develop an understanding about the concept of collaboration informed by Haudenosaunee epistemologies, I explored three cultural stories that generally constitute the foundation of Haudenosaunee philosophy and worldview. Together, insights from both the participants and the cultural stories informed this study and supported the development of my conceptual framework, which includes six components of collaboration: vision, problem-solving, partner engagement, purpose, roles and structure, and resources.

Findings indicate that Indigenous language leaders understand collaboration and processes of collaboration in mostly similar ways; as a process through which individuals and groups who experience a shared problem can work together towards a common goal. The vision, problem domain, purpose, roles and structure, and resource needs of the collaboration are further clarified and affirmed through discussion and dialogue. Indigenous language leaders identified strategies they use and challenges they experience engaging in collaborative work. According to Indigenous language leaders, two main challenges include a lack of human resources (specifically language speakers), and financial resources. Throughout the process of analyzing the data, I explored two themes: (1) complexity and variation in the work of Indigenous language leaders, (2) Indigenous language leaders’ perception of a gap in interaction and coordination between language programs and initiatives at Six Nations of the Grand River. I discuss the role of colonialism in relation to these challenges and emerging themes, and argue that frameworks for collaboration found in Haudenosaunee cultural stories can help navigate these challenges and provide support to collaborative efforts in Indigenous language revitalization.